NOTES ON ISSUE 10: ALLUSIONS
Mrs. Sparsit, fallen from her
pinnacle of exultation into the Slough of Despond
The Slough of Despond was one of the obstacles faced by Christian, the hero of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim's Progress (1678). This text was very popular during the nineteenth century, and Dickens alluded to Bunyan's work often.
Aged and bent he looked, and quite bowed down; and yet he looked a wiser man, and a better man
This description of Gradgrind after his long night of contemplation may allude to the closing lines of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798):
He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.
making his facts and figures subservient to Faith,
Hope, and Charity; and no longer trying to grind that Heavenly trio in his dusty
A reference to the well-known passage from 1 Corinthians 13:13: "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
the plainest national prosperity figures can show will be the Writing on the Wall
A reference to the story of how the hand of God wrote words foretelling disaster on the wall of King Belshazzar’s palace, related in Daniel 5:5-31.